Q:

What does an ignition coil do?

A:

Quick Answer

An ignition coil is a coil in a car's ignition system that carries the 6 or 12 volts from the battery to the many volts used to spark the spark plugs in the ignition. An ignition coil is also called a spark coil, and is classified as an induction coil. All induction coils are electronic transformers that transform low-voltage pulses from the DC supply into higher voltage currents needed to spark machine engines.

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What does an ignition coil do?
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Full Answer

An induction coil is made from two insulated copper wires, called the primary and secondary winding, wrapped around an iron core. A magnetic field occurs when the electric current passes through the primary winding, and the energy is transferred to the secondary by way of the iron core. This has to happen repeatedly so that the coil is able to power the output terminals, so an interrupter bar is placed between the coil and iron core to open and close the electronic current flow. In order to make sure the ignition coil is working, one can safely remove a spark plug and place the threaded end of the spark plug to an exposed metallic piece of engine. The car should be cranked while the plug is held to the engine. A large spark appearing signifies properly functioning ignition coils.

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Related Questions

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    What is the cause of ignition coil failures?

    A:

    Ignition coil failures are caused by worn out spark plugs that fail to transmit electronic signals in a functional and fluid manner. This creates a disruption in the regular flow of power across the ignition coil and makes the engine lose power. It is less common but still possible that the rotor the ignition coil rests on breaks and reduces the function of the power circuit.

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  • Q:

    How can you tell if the ignition coil is bad in a Pontiac Grand Am?

    A:

    Common signs of a failing ignition coil for a Pontiac Grand Am or other vehicle include hard starting, engine misfiring, noisy engine, stalling, backfiring and poor fuel economy. The ignition coil is an integral component of a vehicle's ignition system and responsible for supplying current to spark plugs to ignite the fuel inside the engine's combustion chamber. Malfunctioning ignition coils fail to generate sufficient voltage to fire spark plugs properly.

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  • Q:

    How long do spark plugs last?

    A:

    The length of time that spark plugs last depends on the number of miles driven and the type of spark plug a vehicle has installed. Spark plugs are typically changed every 45,000 miles, but some spark plugs are advertised to last as long as 100,000 miles.

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  • Q:

    How does an automobile ignition system work?

    A:

    The ignition system of an automobile draws electrical current from the battery, increases the voltage using an induction coil, and distributes the current to the spark plugs to ignite the fuel-air mixture. The distributor and an ignition-timing system ensure that current flows to the correct cylinder as fuel enters the system, keeping the engine firing efficiently.

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